QR Codes. You've seen them... those odd-looking, square symbols with pixelated, black-and-white designs. They are not a new technology but with the recent proliferation of smartphones and free scanning aps, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and an important resource for customers to access information.
In fact, according to a study completed by comScore in December 2011, 20.1 million mobile phone owners in the U.S. used their device to scan a QR code in the three-month average period ending October 2011. What's more, as the use of smartphones and public awareness about QR codes increases, their use in day-to-day lives is, not surprisingly, expected to grow exponentially.
For pizza operators looking to amp up their marketing efforts there are opportunities to exploit QR codes. Take pizza boxes. Any pizza operator that uses a custom pizza box knows that printing plates can be be expensive. What's more, even minor artwork revisions such as the addition of a new location will result in the need to purchase an entirely new printing plate. With the addition of QR codes to one's pizza box, pizza operators need only worry about including "static" information in their artwork. QR codes can be used to point to information that might change, such as pizzeria locations, menu items, promotions and ingredients.
Pizza operators should also consider incorporating QR codes into printed marketing materials like brochures, menus and placemats, with links to such items as online ordering, phone numbers and coupons. QR codes can also give customers quick and easy access to a pizzeria's website as well as social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Beyond the ease of response to marketing actions that QR Codes bring, what makes them a marketing dream for pizza operators? First and foremost, they are free. There is a plethora of websites nowadays that produce QR codes for URLs quickly, easily and at no cost (http://goqr.me/, http://www.qrstuff.com/, http://delivr.com/qr-code-generator, http://kimtag.com/).
Second, QR codes are green. By keeping static items on brochures, pizza operators can worry less about the obsolescence of printed information and distribute their printed materials for longer periods of time, thereby reducing the need for reprints and the amount of wastage from obsolete material (paper, ink, and solvents) in the long run.
At Ecovention, we now recommend the use of QR codes to all of customers adopting GreenBox packaging. Take Pizza Consegna, for example, one of the Hyatt Regency's pizza concepts. QR codes pointing to the pizzeria's website are printed in multiple locations on the pizzeria's custom GreenBox Pizza Box.
So, pizza operators, get on board with QR codes. They are cheap, green, create an opportunity for meaningful communication with customers and, most importantly, bring your marketing campaigns into the 21st century!
Jennifer Wright is the CFO of Ecovention, LLC, a design, licensing and manufacturing firm dedicated to improving outmoded, outdated and wasteful food packaging. Ecovention’s first product, the GreenBox, is a pizza box made from 100% recycled material that breaks into plates and a storage carton.